ROME (JTA) — Pope Benedict XVI renewed calls for peace in the Middle East.
During his New Year’s address the pope deplored the "intense violence unleashed in the Gaza Strip in answer to more violence." New Year’s Day is marked by the Church as World Peace Day.
Benedict stressed the "profound desire to live in peace in the hearts of the great majority of the Israeli and Palestinian populations, which is once again endangered by the intense violence."
He called for dialogue, expressing his "well-founded hope that with the wisdom and farsighted contribution of everyone, it will not be impossible to listen to one another, to go out to meet each other and give concrete answers to the widespread aspiration to live in peace, in security and dignity."